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Wednesday, Jan. 28, 2015

Ruth Davis Kohrt

Tuesday, April 24, 2012

Ruth Davis Kohrt died quietly in her arm chair on April 13, 2012. She was born into the pioneer family of George and Sadie (Merrill) Davis of Webb on Aug. 27, 1921. It wasn't an easy time, but she graduated from Iowa State Teachers College and Augustana College, and went on to a 42-year career in Iowa and Minnesota schools, teaching in settings from one-room schools through town high school.

As a licensed school librarian, she planned and developed five school and town libraries, and served on the Friends of Franklin Library and Metro Arts. She was an active member of the Methodist Church, as well as the Iowa State Education Association, the Iowa Retired School Personnel Association, and the Des Moines Area Writers Network. She helped accredit Iowa teacher education programs through the National Council for the Accreditation of Teacher Education.

She married Francis Kohrt in 1942 and lived in Rock Rapids all of her married life. In 1995, after Francis died, she retired to Des Moines, to be near her daughter, Nancy Sutton, and two of her grandchildren, Athena and Thalia. After retiring, she wrote five novels. Nine Months at $90 tells how she earned $90 and spent $100 teaching in a one-room school, where she commuted on a horse. Armon's Apples tells the story of her pioneer grandfather and his homesteading near Webb. Two of her other books depict pioneer life in Northwest Iowa, one from the point-of-view of a talking house.

Two brothers, George Marvin and Merrill, preceded her in death, as did her son, George, a hard thing for a mother to bear. But she is survived by a brother, Wayne Davis of Santa Rosa, Calif.; other grandchildren, Robert Patchett of Colorado Springs, Colo., and Alex and Kendra Kohrt of San Diego, Calif.; and Alex's two children; and three step-grandchildren, Michael, Raphael and Thessaly Sutton.

This doesn't tell you much about her. She dedicated her life to adding value to the lives of others. She had only affirmative words and deeds to offer, and they sprang from her like a fountain with an artesian root, generous with its spirit and renewed by giving. She was the greatest mother-in-law a man could have. She deeded her body to Science, giving even when there was nothing left to give. She was the rarest of rare, a practicing Christian. For a while among us, we had unusual love.

Rev. Richard Phaltzgraff, her pastor, led her Celebration of Life at Wesley Acres in Des Moines, on Friday, April 20. Memorial contributions may be made to the Good Samaritan Fund at Wesley Acres.